Let's have dinner, and you say okay,
Sounds great, when are you free? I'm totally down any night for the next few days,
Except Wednesday, but any night after that is great.
He suggests Tuesday.
Tuesday it is.
Tuesday is a bitch of a day, which is kind of nice,
insofar as it gives you something else to talk about.
He's also got a lot on his mind,
galleries cancelling, other artists aren't refusing his calls,
His ambiguity toward the whole professional culture
amplified for months, a sine wave that looks like a solid bar,
or like one of the tubular rabbits in his paintings.
You make this comparison. He laughs.
"They're not tubular rabbits," he says. "They're future rabbits."
"You paint evolutionarily extended rabbits," you say with deliberate calm.
"You have often cited Gustave Courbet as an inspirational figure for you.
I'm not judging, I just want you to hold those two facts in your mind
at the same time, for like, a hot minute."
"Fuck you," he laughs. "First of all, I'm inspired by lots of people.
You know that." You do. "Also, if Courbet were alive now, he'd also be painting future rabbits.
His whole thing was about..." Your eyes catch
in the light on his neck, how his matted brown curls
graze the skin beneath his ear,
a bough from an indescribably precious tree. The last of its kind.
The flood rains are beginning to chatter,
and no one remembered to pot the sapling and bring it onto the ship.
He's staring at you. You notice he's stopped talking.
"What?" He just shakes his head.
It's your turn to be defensive. "Baby, I was listening! You were talking about Courbet's artist statement, how living in the Paris Commune impacted his thinking..."
He smirks. "I wasn't, actually. But I've told you about that before. You're working from memory. That's very sweet."
It's your turn to laugh. "Fuck you."
He asks you how you've been, in that tone.
Don't tell him